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Why Agile Fails: the Transformation Conundrum - Part I

Development Process, Software Development, Software Solutions

Guest post by Ankur Saxena


For any kind of transformation initiative to be successful, it is important that an organization realizes the need for change. Often times that need is self evident in our day-to-day workings. But sometimes there is only a lingering sense of “maybe something is not right”, and the surface has to be scratched a bit for it to get noticed.
Agile transformation is no different. In fact it is a transformation of epic proportions. It’s so massive that it can alter the genetic code of an organization, and metamorphose it into either something extraordinary, or bring it to the brink of extinction. Therefore it is important to have a strong reason before embarking on such a journey.

Sometimes, organizations look at other enterprises benefiting from successfully implementing agile values and principles, and consider it their call to jump on the agile bandwagon, which in most cases is not a good enough reason for pursuing change. If the question “Why are we doing it?” is not addressed properly, it can become difficult to relate to such a cause, and the initiative ends up losing its sense of purpose. This can actually lead to more suffering and chaos, making the transformation attempt futile.


No two organizations are alike, even if they are similar in size and are in the same business or industry. While it is a good exercise to learn from others’ successes and failures, the reason for going through such a transformation should always stem from the needs of an organization. Before beginning the process of agile adoption, it is recommended to conduct a brainstorming session or workshop, and look for the answers to the following questions:

  • What do we expect to gain from implementing agile practices?
  • Is the existing process incapable of delivering value?
  • Can the process be improved further?
  • What are our top sources of waste that are hindering the value delivery to the end user?
  • If Agile can indeed help, then which framework would fit our organization the best?

Join me next week for the second part of this discussion.

TAGS: Development Process, Software Development, Software Solutions

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